Showing posts from September, 2015

Uncommon Coffee Roasters Cold Brew Coffee in Bottles

Nat picked up this bottle of Cold Brew Coffee from Uncommon Coffee Roasters when we were at Crane's Pie Pantry in Fennville, Michigan a week or so back.  Uncommon is based in Saugatuck and has a little store right in their downtown.   She said it was tasty, so we'll probably buy more when we come across it.  They don't ship, so we'll just have to find it around Southwest Michigan on our trips up there.

Whenever we head up to Saugatuck (which isn't super often...we're more of a St. Joe's-kinda-family!), we always make a stop there so Nat can get her fix.

On the Uncommon site, they're now selling not this bottled stuff, but grounds to brew your own.  They also have an 8 step process listed for brewing your own cold brew here on their site.

Nat has been making her own cold brew for a while now at home, but she doesn't have any of the equipment that they're specifying.  Wonder if we need to upgrade?  I'm not one to take on more uni-taskers (…

So Long, CocoMera - Closing in Elmhurst City Centre - Moving to Downers Grove

This notice was posted on the front windows of Cocomera - the yogurt shop on the east side of York right across for the York Theatre.

I covered the opening of Cocomera back in August of 2012 here on the blog.

Sad to see them go, but the space is huge (always seemed way to big for a yogurt shop!), so I'm hopeful that we'll get something interesting in that location soon.

Here's a post that showed the space BEFORE Cocomera (it was a salon that failed) and talked about how Inland was marketing the place.  

This is the second yogurt place to open and close in the City Centre.  The first was YogenFruz up the street.  This leaves TCBY (which I think is Nat's favorite of the three anyway!) as the last remaining location of the great early/mid-20-teens yogurt craze in Elmhurst.

Help Wanted: Improve The Elmhurst Vietnam Memorial At Wilder Park

Looks like the community in Elmhurst needs to step up and lend a hand to the American Legion Post #187 who wants to improve the Vietnam Memorial that currently sits in Wilder Park.

I spotted this flyer on a local business in the Elmhurst City Centre on my walk to the train.  Here's (below) a closer look at details located at the bottom of the flyer:

After 27 years of being weathered and worn, scratched and nicked, it's time for a granite base that would raise the memorial 30" above ground.  2015 marks the 50th Anniversary of ground forces arrival in Vietnam.  Funds are needed to preserve the memory of the 14 sons of Elmhurst who gave their lives for America in the Vietnam War.  Please send a contribution to:The American Legion Post #187Vietnam Memorial310 W. Butterfield RdElmhurst, IL  60126-5017 I tell you what...this just seems like something we here in Elmhurst *have* to do, right?  I can we NOT do this as a community.

No matter how you feel about war and…

Vacation Greetings From Crane's Pie Pantry

We were up at Crane's Orchard and Crane's Pie Pantry in Fennville Michigan recently to do some Honeycrisp picking and hard cider drinking and pie buying and the other fall-season what-have-yous.

On our table at the Pie Pantry were a series of laminated vintage post cards that had been filled out and mailed with canceled one cent stamps.  This image above was on the back of one of them and I thought it was spot-on for our trip(s) to Coloma in the offseason (i.e. not during the summer!)
Vacation Greetings:
Everything is mighty fine,
Water's sweet as any wine,
There is no roar and bustle,
Don't have to up and hustle,
It's the rural life for mine!  

Boo To You (And You, And You) #NotSoScary

'Tis the season for these three spot-on Disney pins it seems.  I clipped the pumpkin Mickey one and the Sally one on to the Jack card to keep them together.  I *think* one of the girls traded for the pumpkin one and maybe the Sally one(?), but the Jack one came from a friend.

As they say:  Boo to you and you and you and you.  It's Halloween time.  ( least at Disney World it is!)

Even the Sanderson Sisters are in on the action this year.  And things are #NotSoScary it seems.

'The Saint' - Artisnal Reserve Crispin Natural Hard Apple Cider

We picked up this bomber of Crispin Hard Apple Cider at Costco recently and Nat broke it out for our block party this past weekend.  It was mighty tasty and I wasn't ashamed to be drinking it out amongst the other folks drinking craft beer from all over the place.  (By the way...Costco has really stepped up their game of craft beer with dozens of bomber sizes of various types.  Kinda neat way to spend a few minutes while Nat looks through the book section.)

It is interesting to me that ciders have moved from kind of fringe - almost feminine - beverages (I remember back in the 90's some folks drinking Mike's Hard Cider back in college and me looking down at them while I was shotgunning my Miller High Life Light!) to totally mainstream.

For me, Nat has been leading the way for a few years as she's sought out ciders at bars and restaurants while I was sticking to the draft beer menu.  The first time I had a Crispin was a sip of one of Nat's at dinner one night probab…

Best of Enemies: Art @ York for October

Continuing in the series of Art @ the York film series, the upcoming October run is Best of Enemies.  Here are the posts covering the inaugural July as well as the August and September versions.

I took that photo in the morning on my walk to work. With the early fall days starting later, I'm getting A LOT of glare off the posters right now!

Best of Enemies is a documentary covering a couple of 'public intellectuals'.  From the Classic Cinemas site:
'Best of Enemies' is a documentary about the legendary series of nationally televised debates in 1968 between two great public intellectuals, the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr. Intended as commentary on the issues of their day, these vitriolic and explosive encounters came to define the modern era of public discourse in the media, marking the big bang moment of our contemporary media landscape when spectacle trumped content and argument replaced substance. Best of Enemies delves into the …

Elmhurst Touch-A-Truck 2015

Did the Bird ever have fun.  She was all over all the trucks, but mostly LOOOOVED the 'digger trucks' that the fine folks from the Elmhurst Park District put out at their annual "Touch-A-Truck" event at Berens Park in Elmhurst last weekend.

Here's my post from 2013 showing how the Babe - at that time - was all over the trucks.  This year?  Her younger sister was doing the leading.  In 2013, we were able to get in a helicopter.  This year, we arrived about halfway through the event, so I'm not sure if there helicopter left before we got there or if they couldn't book it this year?

This is a really great event and the kids all seem to love it.  So much in fact, that the Bird asked if her birthday party (#4 this year!) can be a "Touch-A-Truck Birthday"?!?  Hmmm...that might be hard to pull off, no?

Christmas Creep At The Daley Center (Or Is It Just Smart Prep?)

Last week, there were electricians putting up Christmas lights on the trees along Randolph on the north side of the Daley Center in Chicago.

The top photo was on my walk east in the am and the photo at the bottom is from my walk west after work.

So, I'm torn.  Christmas creep?  Or is this just plain smart preparation by working when it is pleasant outside?

Grampa's Cider Mill Is Now The Bainbridge Beverage Company in Coloma

If you click on the photo of the building above you'll see the new sign above the door of this place that is *now* called "The Bainbridge Beverage Company".   You'll also notice the big dark(er) red Circle above the door that *used* to have the Grandpa's Cider Mill Logo.  You can see the circle Grandpa's logo here on their site.

I covered Grandpa's Cider Mill before here on the blog, but we made a stop there yesterday when we were up in Coloma.  The Babe spoke up and said that she wanted to go to the 'Apple Cider Bar' where you can taste different flavors of cider.  We've done that trip a few times and always had a good time sidle'ing up to the bar where we can grab some stools and enjoy the experience.

But...with the new name change to Bainbridge, it appears that they've expanded the bottling facility and moved the bar to a new location.  They've appeared to make this a much more professional facility with a lot of machinery and…

40th Anniversary of Opening of Space Mountain

A close up of the D23 Disney calendar for September is above.  This month marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort back in 1975.

I've been to the Magic Kingdom a bunch of times, but I've *never* been on this ride.  Nat went on once...without me...and her purse went flying!  She lost her phone, sunglasses and purse.   No thanks, Mickey!

Wall Calendars Turned Over to September

I was in the office on Friday and noticed that I needed to turn over the wall calendars.  On the right, the Disney D23 Calendar features the 40th anniversary of Space Mountain.  On the right is the University of Illinois Business Instructional Facility.  I have NO IDEA where or what that exactly is, but me thinks it wasn't there back in the '90's when I was bouncing around Green Street.

So...September took 18 days on the calendars.
August was just the 10th.
July was bad. The 21st. In June, I nailed it. Turned on June 1st.
Here's the post from May with the calendars. Took me until the 12th.
March's post - where I turned them on the 11th. February post introducing the concept. On the 17th.

Elmhurst Craft Beer Fest 2015

Tomorrow over by the Elmhurst History Museum there's what I *think* is the inaugural Elmhurst Craft Beer Fest being put on by the Elmhurst Heritage Foundation and the Rotary Club of Elmhurst.  $35 tickets for 18 tickets that are good for 3 oz samples.  18 x 3 = 54 ounces of beer.  That's 4.5 12 ounce beers for your $35.  Seems like a fair deal.
I'd call this a nice addition to the event calendar in town.  Hoping it is a success and that it becomes a repeat event.  
There's quite a few breweries represented.  No Solemn Oath, though?!?  But lots of big guys and some interesting ones like Nat's favorite Stone and Revolution from Chicago.  Good job by the organizers to get *so* many breweries/beers lined up.  
From the Brew Fest's site: This is the current list logo's of participating breweries. Check back often! We continue to add to the list.Goose Island Ommemgang Boulevard BrewingFounders BrewingNew BelguimSam AdamsAngry OrchardTraveler Beer CoUrban LegendNoo…

Uptown Shop Elmhurst Moving To New York Location

I spotted the coverings on the windows of the Elmhurst Uptown Shop a few days ago on my walk home from the train and feared they were gone.

Turns out...they're NOT closing.

Just moving around the corner up on York Street to the old Leonard's mens clothing store which is just north of the toy store and jewelry shop on the east side of the street.  Here's a post from October of last year showing the closing of Leonard's.  Seems like a better location traffic-wise, but a worse location parking-wise, right?  I always seemed to be able to nab a spot in the police lot or out on first.  York is a total crapshoot.  Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you end up circling down Addison a few times.

The Uptown Shop's site says they're having a big moving sale today and should open soon around the corner:
WE ARE MOVING our Elmhurst storeThe MOVING SALE will be HUGEWe are closed starting Monday the 14th to prepare.Sale is open to the public Thursday -Sunday
Thursday-Friday 9…

My Boy, The Wookie #ShareTheForce

Our local Target in Villa Park has a Chewbacca standup display set up right when you walk in the door, so when I was there with my Boy (The King of the Ball Tossers), I couldn't *NOT* go take a photo of him doing his 'Chewie roar', right?

Cotton Candy Grapes. What Is This Sorcery?!?

Some friends came over for pizza this weekend and they brought some fruit including these Cotton Candy grapes.  And you know what?  They TOTALLY taste like cotton candy.  I had NEVER heard of these things before I ate a few and I was completely amazed.

They're apparently 'taking the world by storm' and with good reason they're a delight to eat.  They proudly have a 'non-gmo' label on them, but aren't they actually modified food stuffs?  They're grown by cross-cultivating two different grape varieties:
They are made by plant breeding, meaning that farmers who cultivate these grapes cross different types of grapes together. David Cain, a horticulturist, and his team at theInternational Fruit Genetics in Bakersfield, California mixed two types of grapes — a Concord-like grape and seedless Vitis vineferia, which is a grape vine commonly found in the Mediterranean. Sounds modified to me?  And that's just fine thank you.

Which Is The *More* Sharp Cheddar Cheese?

These two cheeses were side-by-side at the Jewel this weekend.  Being after the 'sharpest' cheddar I could get my hands out, I was confused by which would be better.  There wasn't a key on the packages, so I had to guess.  I went with 'extra sharp' this time and it worked perfectly for what I was using it for this time.

But, why offer both?

If I took the time to go look on the Cabot site, turns out this is one of their frequently asked questions.
What is the difference between Vermont Sharp, Extra Sharp, and Seriously Sharp Cheddar?Good question. The main difference between the three products is the amount of time they are aged. Cabot Vermont Sharp has a flavor that is reliable and consistent from batch to batch and is a customer favorite. Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar has a strong cheddar flavor that many cheddar fans specifically look for. Just like its younger sibling, Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar, it is consistent from batch to batch. You know what you are getting …

Chicago Beer Exhibit At Elmhurst History Museum

Yesterday's post about the Elmhurst History Museum's archives being used for economic development purposes by the City of Elmhurst got me to poke around the Elmhurst History Museum's site and Facebook page.  I ended up coming across this piece in the Chicago Tribune by Steve Johnson that covers his Top 10 picks for Fall Museum Trips.
Included in there at $6 was the Elmhurst History Museum and their new Beer exhibit.  From the story:
6. "Beer Chicago: The Refreshing History": Lots of institutions these days do beer-themed events. This is all well and very good. But the Elmhurst Historical Museum had the bright idea to make an actual exhibition based on the sudsy stuff. The show's menu includes a beer-making station and the history of the city's beers, beermakers and taverns. There's also a tie-in with the Sept. 19 Elmhurst Craft Beer Fest, on the grounds of the museum. Sept. 18 to Feb. 14 at the Elmhurst Historical Museum, 120 E. Park Ave., Elmhurst; f…

Picture Yourself In Elmhurst

Last week, I wrote about how there's a new rendering of a new construction building on the old Plass Appliance store in the Elmhurst City Centre that portends a new four-story terraced structure with retail and street-level and condos on the upper floors.

But that isn't the only thing that has been plastered on the windows of the old Plass store.  This new "Picture Yourself In Elmhurst" three-panel photo went up and is pretty cute.  It is a bunch of laborers who are installing street lights for the first time in town.  It evokes the same feeling of the lunch on top of skyscraper iconic photo for me.

Here's a closer look at the white box on the right side that shows the reason for the billboard:

Some of the #hashtags are interesting at the bottom.  #walkable #downtown #citycentre.

Based on the email addresses, it plainly looks like the city's Economic Development group had the idea, but if look closely, it appears to be a nice little bit of inter-governmen…

First Try With Google Express. Preetay, Preetay, Preetay Nice.

Earlier this week, Google announced the expansion of Google Express to include delivery in the suburbs of Chicago via this blog post.  Being a 'root-for-the-home-team-kinda-guy', I *had* to give it a shot, right?

Google Express allows for overnight delivery of goods from a network of retailers including Walgreens, Costco, Toys R Us and others.  Much like Amazon Prime, you can pay an annual subscription charge and receive free shipping.

On this maiden order, I decided to skip the subscription and just pay the $4 it cost to get the stuff to my house.  To make things easy, I picked just one store:  Walgreens.  And after filling my cart with a few things, I got the hang of it.  I quickly realized that I had to hit $15 in stuff to get to the delivery threshold.

So...I went around and plucked a few things from the various departments and nosed ahead of $15.  This was on Wednesday.  I also looked at the offerings from a few other stores.  Costco, in particular was of interest.  Th…

Jessica Rabbit And Mickey Mouse Disney Shield Pins

These two pins - that are sitting on my desk - are part of the 2013 Hidden Mickey Patriotic Characters Pin set and I think have been sorted by The Babe into the 'keepers' pile of sorts.

Since we're out of our house, we haven't quite figured out what to do with the pins that the girls have come home with on trips.  I'm also sitting on a big bag of scrappers from our previous trip that we didn't circulate that we need to do something with soon.

But...back to Jessica Rabbit here on the left.  She's the sultry human wife of Roger Rabbit.  If you do a search for [Jessica+Rabbit] on the PinPics site, you get 1040 different Jessica Rabbit pins.  More than 1000!  From a movie released in 1988?!?

They've really squeezed a lot of juice from that fruit, eh?  There's just way too many nerdy, desperate dudes like me who gobble up the Jessica Rabbit pins to make Disney shut off the faucet?  Gasp!  Did I just write that I have more than one Jessica Rabbit Disne…

Disney Moms Panel Submission: Complete

While I'll quarrel with the name (Ahem....'Moms'), I really like the idea of parents helping other parents figure out all there is to know about planning and pulling off a trip to Walt Disney World.   That's why, I submitted an application to become a member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel this am.  That's a screenshot of the confirmation screen you get after you apply above.  The application process opened yesterday and runs for a week.

In my application, I had to share a bit about my Disney family.  And...thanks to this blog and our family blog, I had a few places we could send people that include stories, photos and videos of our trips.

The little bit I know about the process is that it is SUPER selective and there's lots of disappointment involved as just a handful (like 20 for WDW, I think?) of folks make the cut.  Good luck to everyone who is applying!

Explore Elmhurst Express Trolley Service

While we were wandering around town on Sunday, we came across the 'Explore Elmhurst Express' Trolley down on South York Street.  It is a nice addition that has run all summer.  It is winding down and will run it's last route on September 13th with stops around the City Centre and down near Spring/Vallette.

I'm thinking that they're likely tracking usage so they can optimize the run times/routes if they decide to extend the service to the fall or next summer.

From the City of Elmhurst's site:
The City of Elmhurst is pleased to announce the Explore Elmhurst Express, a free trolley service connecting Elmhurst City Centre with the Spring Road and York and Vallette business districts. Take a stroll or hop on your bike and head for one of the nearest trolley stops. Convenient parking is also located near each stop.It's a great way to shop and dine locally and enjoy the City's numerous cultural opportunities, while saving some gas and bringing sales tax dol…

Cutest Lemonade Stand I've Ever Seen!

I've been hearing - virtually - ALL summer from The Babe that she desperately, desperately wants to run a Lemonade Stand.  Over the weekend, we finally caved and helped her fulfill her vision.  We only had a few stipulations:
1.  She had to give the lemonade away for free but ask for donations to a charity of her choice. 2.  When we were out of lemonade, that was it.  No whining about wanting more.
Well...I'm happy to report that The Babe picked "Give Kids The World" as her charity of choice and we set up on the corner of 3rd and Indiana where there was a bit more traffic than out front of our house.  We listen to a lot of Disney podcasts in the car and the guys on The Dis UnPlugged talk a lot about "Give Kids the World" and after asking Nat and me about it, that's the one she picked.  We wrote up a little sign on the money jug that said 'Donations for Give Kids The World Accepted'.  
For those of you who don't know, Give Kids The World Vil…

Summer Almost Over?

The Babe isn't over until she says so.  And there's still plenty of watermelon and corn on the cob to eat before we move on to pumpkin spice this and pumpkin spice that.  Labor Day may be here, but we're still in shorts and t-shirts (at least most of us are....the Babe...for some reason is going all long-sleeves-all-the-time) so just hold on for a second, Fall.  I'll take your college football, but let's just hold tight on those leaves falling and cold mornings.  Sound like a deal?

Seven Years And Counting...

When packing up last month, I found a few of these 'campaign buttons' from our rehearsal dinner today - September 5th - back in 2008.  Still kinda love these and the spirit in which they were made.

Here's a post about the invites and other wedding stuff from back in 2008.

A simple blog post can't express my feelings on this 7th anniversary about my wife.  The tradition of anniversary gifts calls for a blog post for #7, right?

Nat continues to wow me every day as she demonstrates her smarts, kindness and ability to roll with the punches.  She's the strongest, most caring person I know.  But...importantly, she is an incredible mom to our three kids, a really great sister and daughter, and the best damn partner a guy could ask for in life.  Thanks for putting up with me.

Here's to many more years, Pud!    Love you more.

MOD Pizza Elmhurst Review

Last night we packed the kids up and went out to try Mod (or is it MOD?!?) Pizza on St. Charles Road near Route 83 in Elmhurst.  It is located in the same plaza as Total Hockey and Potbelly's on the south side of St. Charles.

Mod Pizza is best described as "The Chipotle of Pizza"; meaning you walk along the line with the pizza maker as they assemble your pie based on your choice of ingredients.  Nat and I both got the 'Mod size', which is the normal size, but they also have a kids size that is a bit smaller.

What's interesting is that DIRECTLY across the street from Mod is a newly opened PieFive Pizza - which, I think, is the exact same concept.  What happened with burgers three years ago (lots of burger places opened) and fro-yo two years ago (four fro-yo places opened in town!), appears to be happening with the quick-serve pizza concept.  We decided to try Mod first.  And it was pretty good - considering that they're just getting started with the restau…

Aurelio's Now Selling Their Sausage Via Retail?!?

Whaaaatttt what!?!  After poking around on the forums, I just learned that Aurelio's (My pizza touch-stone) is now selling their sausage retail.  I went looking for more details and found this story from a few years ago that shows where they're selling it:
Aurelio’s has been manufacturing its famed sausage in Chicago’s South Suburbs for more than four decades. Aurelio’s only uses the highest quality, all natural ingredients. In addition to producing fresh sausage daily for its bestselling pizzas across every Aurelio’s location, in 2010, the company began selling the sausage links to over 70 independent grocery stores throughout the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, including Walt’s, Stack and Van Til, Berkots, Ultra foods, FreshLine Foods, Fairway foods, Rio Valley Market, Express Wholesale Grocers, Mario’s Market West, Central Market, Edmar Foods, Spring Valley Supermarket, Fair Share Fine Foods, Halsted Foods, Wiseway Food Center, Super Save, El Ray Foods an…

'Restaurant Rescue' for 100 South Chop House in Elmhurst?

I spotted these booths laying on the sidewalk outside of 100 South Chop House and Grill this morning.  Coupled with the re-doing of the writing on the black awnings on the place has me wondering if they're doing one of those 'restaurant/bar rescues' where experts come in and overhaul the place and put in a new look/feel for restaurants.

Have to admit...I've NEVER been in 100 South.  I also didn't think it wasn't in any trouble in terms of people patronizing the place.  So, I didn't think they'd *need* one of those 'rescues', right?  My sister and my nephew love the place.  I think they sit at the bar and love the service and food.  Never been in there.  Just doesn't look like the type of place that we'd spend time in.   I'm probably wrong!  But, now with - what looks like - a new set of booths and furniture in the restaurant, maybe we need to visit?

Does anyone know?  Was this taped for one of those 'rescue' shows…

View From The New Wrigley Bleachers

I went to the dump that is known as Wrigley Field last night with some good friends.  I think this was the second time I've been in the bleachers, but I can't totally recall.  Have to was pretty fun.
Couldn't pay much attention to the game (which kinda explains why the Bleachers are such a party normally, right?), but I did 'hoss down an absolutely delicious Hot Doug's polish sausage called the 'Carmen Fanzone'.  I wasn't ever able to get to Hot Doug's before they closed, so this was a really nice treat!

The Tribune describes the sausages thusly:
Named for former Cubs players, the lineup consists of the Carmen Fanzone (spicy Vienna Beef polish sausage with brown mustard and caramelized onions), the Rick Reuschel (pork sausage with chipotle mustard and pepper jack cheese) and the Dave Kingman (bacon cheeseburger sausage with cola-barbecue sauce and sharp cheddar). The improvements they've made to the park are quite dramatic and really …